Today’s guest picture is another from Alison and Mike Tinker’s New Zealand visit. As well as bridges, they have flowers over there too.
I try to keep off politics in this blog, but I cannot hide the fact that the English results of our general election were a disappointment to me and will lead us into a cloudy future. Our very unfair first past the post voting system meant that in the UK, the conservatives got a thumping majority in parliament with about 45% of the vote and in Scotland the SNP won nearly all the seats with roughly the same percentage of the vote. This is ridiculous on both counts. The result is that Boris Johnson can claim a ringing endorsement for leaving the EU with a percentage vote that was much smaller than the winning margin in the actual EU referendum and which would have seen Brexit defeated and Nicola Sturgeon can claim a ringing endorsement for a second referendum on independence with exactly the same share of the vote with which the nationalists lost that first independence referendum. I weep.
Under the circumstances, I was happy to have a busy day to keep my mind off things, starting with coffee and scones with Dropscone. It is fair to say that he was probably more satisfied with the overall election result than I was.
When he left, I took a quick look at the feeder and was happy to see any visitors at all as a cat had earlier made a determined, but luckily unavailing, assault on our birds. I do not subscribe to the cats’ protection league. If there was a league for protection from cats, I would subscribe to that.
A rare sparrow turned up to try out a fat ball…
…and the robin posed on the hedge.
It was fine but chilly at 3 degrees C so I went for a short three bridges walk, hoping that it might warm up a bit later on.
Among the black headed gulls at the Kilngreen, I spotted this larger juvenile. I can’t tell what sort of gull it is and would welcome advice from knowledgeable readers.
I can recognise a heron though and I found Mr Grumpy looking unusually alert. I thought that I was going to get a flying heron of the day shot for a moment but he was just stretching his wings and soon subsided unto a characteristic pose.
I paused on the Sawmill Bridge to look for dippers. I didn’t see any but I was impressed that I was on the bridge at exactly the right time to be able to photograph its shadow falling on the water below (and with my shadow just showing on the parapet.)
The birch trees on the Lodge Walks are almost all bare now but the hornbeams…
…still have a lot of keys attached.
The sun picked out a pine on the Castleholm…
…and I was happy to see signs of things to come as I walked back along the path to the Jubilee Bridge.
I crossed the bridge and walked along the river bank behind the school where there were berries to be seen in abundance. These are yew…
…and this is a very productive snowberry bush.
Its white berries made a contrast with some pink ones further down the bank.
I bought a couple of meat pies from the butcher’s van beside the Buccleuch Centre and took them home where Mrs Tootlepedal and I ate them for lunch.
Fortified by my pie, I checked the thermometer and seeing that it had crept up to 4 degrees, I wrapped up and went out for a short cycle ride.
When the sun was out, it was lovely…
…but some clouds came up from behind me and the catching the sun became a bit of a here and there affair. I was here and the sun was mostly over there…
…so it got a bit chilly and I settled for fifteen miles in case it started to freeze. I was encouraged to go home when I was passed by the council gritting lorry which sprayed me liberally with grit. I took the hint.
I saw two mushrooms on my way, one in the sky…
…and the other with some friends beside the road.
I didn’t dilly dally when I stopped cycling and it wasn’t long before Mrs Tootlepedal and I were heading down to Longtown to pick up our new spectacles. When we had collected them, we headed for Gretna and purchased some warm socks and gloves for the season.
It was dark by the time that we got home.
In the evening, Mike and Alison came round for their traditional Friday evening visit and Mrs Tootlepedal cracked open a bottle of reasonably priced fizzy wine with which we we raised a toast to an uncertain future.
Alison and I then improved the day by playing some enjoyable music.
While I was at the Kilngreen on my walk, I tried to catch a flying bird of the day by tracking a gull with my pocket camera. It nearly worked.